Taipei, Taiwan on Saturday debuted a hot air balloon in the shape of its endemic Formosan black bear at the ongoing International Balloon Festival in Taitung.
The "OhBear" balloon, which is 30.6 meters high and weighs 250 kilograms, was produced through joint efforts by the national Tourism Bureau and the Taitung County government.
The balloon is decorated with images that depict Taiwan's indigenous culture, including an illustration of bag that is traditionally used by women of the Amis tribe to carry betel nuts and personal belongings.
Taiwan has been using the OhBear motif in its tourism promotion efforts since 2014 as it seeks to heighten its international visibility, said Tourism Bureau Director-General Chou Yung-hui (???), adding that the hot air balloon design is part of that effort.
The motif features the Formosan black bear, which is endemic to Taiwan and inhabits mainly the island's central mountain range. As the name suggests, the bear is black-- except for a distinctive white V-shaped area on its chest.
In its latest appearance in the form of a hot air balloon, the black bear motif will float among other balloons from around the world at the International Balloon Festival, which is being held June 30-Aug. 13 in Luye Highland in Taitung.
Visitors can take tethered rides in the balloons during the day and attend the Night Glow Concert in the evening at various venues throughout Taitung.
The concert, part of the balloon festival, will be held at Dapo Lake on Saturday night, National Taitung University on July 28, Aurora Garden on Aug. 4, Jhihben Hot Spring on Aug. 11, and in Luye Highland on Aug. 13, according to festival website.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel